Welcoming the largest boarding student enrollment in its history, St. Johnsbury Academy started the new school year with 42 more students than last year's opening day. As of Monday's close of the Academy's regularly scheduled registration process, 958 students were enrolled for Tuesday's first day of classes, including 698 Day students from 50 Vermont and New Hampshire towns, along with 260 boarders from 22 states, one territory, and 22 countries.
"We have increased our enrollment of both day and boarding students, exceeding both our projections and last year's enrollment. The most significant increases were in the freshman class, where day enrollment surpassed early projections by more than 20 students, and boarding enrollment nearly doubled from last year. The new Green Dorm enabled us to increase our total boarding enrollment by 34 students. We are fortunate that the generosity of our alumni, parents, and friends made it possible for us to build two new dormitories in the past four years," said Jack Cummings, the Academy's associate headmaster for Advancement and Admission.
"We are delighted that the Academy continues to defy the declining enrollment that is plaguing other schools across Northern New England. We believe our commitment to maintaining high personal and academic standards, and then providing each student with the support necessary to meet these expectations, is the key to our enrollment success.
Among all town Academies, SJA is the leader in diversity, the number of boarding students, and is the most competitive in the U.S. market," Cummings continued. "Our director of admission, Mary Ann Gessner, along with our admission and advancement staff, lead our recruitment efforts across the U.S. and around the world, where we meet with prospective students, families, educational advisors, and alumni. One of our major goals is to ensure that no one nationality dominates our boarding enrollment. Our American students remain our largest group, with students from China representing our largest international group, and accounting for approximately 20 percent of our boarding enrollment. We believe this commitment to diversity is essential to a healthy school community, and to ensuring long-term enrollment stability."
Cummings pointed out that transitioning from a 4-block to a 5-block schedule in 2007 -- made possible by the faculty's leadership in taking on additional assignments and extending the school day -- allowed the Academy to reduce the average class size from 20 to 12, enabled the creation of the Center for Academic Improvement (Learning Center), and provided more time within the daily schedule for students to meet with guidance, advisors, health and wellness, and other wraparound support services.
"Much of our success can be traced to our community-wide commitment to being a great school and community; one where every child is valued and nurtured," Cummings said.
This year, boarders come from Austria, Bermuda, Brazil, Canada, China, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Iceland, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan, Turkey and Vietnam.
Domestic boarders include students from California, Connecticut, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Washington, Wisconsin, Vermont and Virginia.
The Academy's Good Neighbor reduced-tuition program, designed to attract more students from Vermont, New Hampshire, and Quebec, is also proving successful.
Students living in Academy dormitories include four sets of siblings, two sets of cousins, and two children of former Academy boarding students, Jamie Ryan, the school's dean of resident students, said.
Vermont towns and villages represented in the Day student enrollment include Barnet, Barre, Bradford, Bristol, Brunswick, Concord, Corinth, Danville, Derby, Burke, Calais, Ryegate, Gilman, Glover, Granby, Groton, Guildhall, Hardwick, Hyde Park, Kirby, Lower Waterford, Lunenburg, Lyndon, Maidstone, McIndoe Falls, Morrisville, Passumpsic, Peacham, Plainfield, Sheffield, St. Johnsbury, Sutton, Topsham, Victory, Waterford, Wheelock and Wolcott.
New Hampshire Day students include residents of Bath, Dalton, Easton, Jefferson, Lancaster, Littleton, Lyman, Lyme, Monroe, Piermont, Sugar Hill, Whitefield and Woodsville.
For more information, please go to www.stjacademy.org.